EMS Tips Operations Students

5 Common Lightning Myths

Lightning is a leading cause of weather related death. Prevent lightning death and injury, as well as providing rapid treatment by dispelling these myths about lightning.

Myth 1: No rain, no lightning.
Fact: Lightning can strike 10-15 miles ahead or behind the storm. Lightning can occur with clear blue sky overhead.

Myth 2: Metal attracts lightning.
Fact: Lightning is unpredictable and generally strikes the nearest tall object.

Read three more myths.

Do you want to learn more about lightning? After registering as a new user at browse for the course on Lightning Causes and Injuries. An ALS and BLS version are available for 1.0 hours of CECBEMS approved continuing education credit.

Myth 3: Strike victims are electrified.
Fact: Victims do not carry a charge and are safe to touch immediately. Do NOT delay treatment.

Myth 4: It is safe to stand in the apparatus bay with the door open.
Fact: You are risk of a direct strike, splash over, or ground current in this position.

Myth 5: As long as I am not the tallest object I am safe outdoors.
Fact: There is no safe place outdoors. If you hear thunder or see lightning move inside a structure – a building with closed doors and windows.

This map shows lightning caused fatalities from 2003 to 2005 in the United States.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.